Jian Li has dedicated herself to the technical innovation and agricultural industrialization for 27 years. She was a representative in the 17th National Congress of China’s Communist Party in 2007. Currently, she is chair of the Board of Trustee and director of the Ningxia Forestry Institute LTD, director of the National Center of Engineering and Technology on Speedy Propagation of Economic Tree Seedlings and director of the State Key Laboratory of Seedling Bioengineering.
Following graduation from Ningxia Agricultural University in 1982, she was hired as a breeder to develop Chinese wolfberry varieties at the Ningxia Forestry Institute. As a visiting scholar sponsored by the China Ministry of Education, she conducted research on breeding technology of small fruits.
In 1996, she led the team to establish the National Center of Engineering and Technology on Speedy Propagation of Economic Tree Seedlings, the first such center in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. Based on this technological platform, she implemented research programs in the areas of rapid and industrial propagation, selection, cultivation and mechanism study of water-conserving and drought-tolerant ornamental plants, as well as introduction and collection of special plant germplasm.
To reduce the amount of fresh water for irrigating plants and the cost of maintenance, and to sustain the healthy development of urban ornamental landscape and gardens, Li and her research team proposed the concept of growing water-conserving and drought-tolerant plants in urban areas. The repository team has collected 300 water-conserving and drought-tolerant plant species, the most comprehensive plant repository of its kind in China.